ICBC has a de facto monopoly on car insurance in British Columbia. Pretty much everyone hates them, and has some horror story about how they or their friend or relative was screwed by the insurance giant.
So, when my wife was in a fender bender two weeks ago (she’s fine), we feared the worst. To my surprise, however, we’ve been treated with respect and dealt with fairly and efficiently. Our claims meeting was short and painless. The adjuster clearly articulated what they would and would not cover (in terms of out-of-pocket expenses). We easily obtained a rental car, covered by ICBC, when the body shop didn’t have any courtesy cars (thank goodness, because I’d feel like a pariah in one of those things). And we didn’t have to battle, squabble or plead for anything.
The key here may be that the other driver accepted 100% of the blame for the accident, and no one was seriously injured. I’m no cheerleader for ICBC, but this experience certainly was as simple and pain-free as it could have been.
I should add: if you ever complain about car insurance prices, go investigate the cost of insuring a car in Ireland. On top of the higher rates, they profile drivers more thoroughly there. A young man might pay twice as much (across the board, those rates are suspiciously low–my anecdotal experience puts the actual costs at twice that at least) as a middle-aged woman.